Fatal crane crash investigation hit standstill, court told

Christine (Sam) Leonardi and Samuel John Leonardi.
Christine (Sam) Leonardi and Samuel John Leonardi. Photo Contributed

INVESTIGATIONS into the death of a mother and her son in a collision with a 20-tonne crane came to "a standstill” after the crash, an inquest has heard.

Christine Leonardi and her six-year-old son Samuel died after a Franna AT20 crane collided with the family ute near Toowoomba in 2013.

Coroner John Hutton has indicated he may recommend lower speed limits for cranes on the open road, and improvements to how the lateral stability of cranes is tested.

Crane driver Rodger Hannemann told the inquest last week the crane became uncontrollable and moved side to side before the crash.

Stuart Davis from the Office of Industrial Relations gave evidence on Wednesday morning.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland received some initial information about the September 2013 crash, but the information supply soon dried up.

Mr Davis said he heard nothing further from the Department of Transport from late 2014, or from crane maker Terex.

"Nothing's been done?” Coroner Hutton asked.

"It would appear it's come to a standstill,” said Peter De Waard, counsel for the coroner.

The inquest heard of problems some government departments had trouble working with one another on road safety issues.

"There was a transition going on with the establishment of the new national heavy vehicle regulator,” Mr De Waard said.

"Shouldn't red tape be cut in the interests of public safety?” Coroner Hutton said.

Mr Davis was also asked about the usefulness of manuals crane makers provided for drivers.

"I believe the manufacturer is in the best position to speak about these idiosyncrasies, about how [cranes] behave,” he said.

The inquest was also examining issues around work licensing, driver licensing and what sort of national standards around crane operation might be needed.

Mrs Leonardi, formerly of Stanthorpe, moved with her husband John to Toowoomba in 1999.

Mr Leonardi has been attending the inquest, which was expected to conclude on Wednesday.

Coorner Hutton will then consider the evidence before releasing his findings.


Topics:  toowoomba

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